Fultz ‘cannot raise up his arms to shoot’, has fluid drained from shoulder
Through the first four games of the season, and even during part of the preseason and scrimmage, one big concern for the Sixers and fans in the city has been the status of No. 1 overall pick, Markelle Fultz. The organization drafted him for his offensive upside, shooting over 45 percent from three-point range at Washington, but they haven't seen Markelle attempt a shot from beyond the arc. In addition, his free throw form is just hard to watch and it's has been widely believed that a shoulder injury has been the reason for his shot mechanics being altered. That fear was confirmed today by Fultz's agent, who revealed that the former Washington product had fluid drained from his shoulder and will see a specialist.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz, the top overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, had fluid drained from his right shoulder and is planning to visit a specialist soon, his agent told ESPN on Tuesday.
"Markelle had a shoulder injury and fluid drained out of the back of his shoulder," agent Raymond Brothers told ESPN. "He literally cannot raise up his arms to shoot the basketball. He decided to try and fight through the pain to help the team. He has a great attitude. We are committed to finding a solution to get Markelle back to 100 percent."
The fact that this has gotten to this point is somewhat baffling. It goes against what the Sixers have preached with previous injuries to draft picks, taking an extra cautious approach with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. If Fultz was legitmately couldn't raise him arms to shoot a basketball, why keep playing him?
The Sixers medical staff doesn't have a great track record when it comes to injuries and this just continues that trend. Last season, they misdiagnosed Joel Embiid's knee injury and he ended up playing against Houston with a torn meniscus. Simmons was originally supposed to miss 3-4 months, but had to sit the whole season due to a slow healing process.
Fultz has been passing up wide open opportunities to shoot the ball and has relied on passing and driving into the paint, promptly to have his shot blocked. Through four games, Markelle is averaging 6.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists, shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor and he hasn't taken a shot from beyond the arc yet, heck none of his shots have been even close to the arc.
"From a basketball perspective, it's been encouraging to see that Markelle can get any shot he wants during the games, but he has been unable to shoot the ball," Brothers told ESPN.
We'll have to see how much time Fultz misses, if any, but if anything, it's somewhat of a relief to know the issue isn't mental and hopefully he can get things healed and return back to the form that made him the first overall selection this season.